Home World Europe News Vladimir Putin denies Russian plans to reopen spy facility in Cuba

Vladimir Putin denies Russian plans to reopen spy facility in Cuba

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President Vladimir Putin has denied reports that Russia made a deal with Cuba to reopen an electronic listening post on the Caribbean island.

The Lourdes base near Havana was used by the Soviets to spy on the US during the Cold War.

Speaking at the BRICS summit in Brazil, Vladimir Putin said Russia could “meet its defense needs without this component”.

Russia’s Kommersant newspaper had earlier reported that Russia and Cuba had agreed to reopen the spy facility.

The Lourdes base near Havana was used by the Soviets to spy on the US during the Cold War

The Lourdes base near Havana was used by the Soviets to spy on the US during the Cold War (photo Reuters)

Vladimir Putin closed the base in 2001, citing concerns over its cost.

The paper said the deal to make the base operational again had been reached during Vladimir Putin’s visit to Cuba last week.

A Russian security source quoted by Reuters news agency had confirmed the Kommersant report, saying “a framework agreement” had been agreed.

The Lourdes base began operations in 1967 and provided intelligence for Soviet state security bodies. It also handled secret communications for the Soviet navy.

In Soviet times some 3,000 specialists worked there, then in the 1990s Russia reduced the staff by about half. Kommersant said staffing on that level would not be required now, because of improvements in technology.


When Russia shut the base in 2001 the annual cost – the rent paid to Cuba – was $200 million.

Cuba was a Cold War hotspot. The crisis over Soviet missiles in Cuba in 1962 almost escalated into nuclear war.

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